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Sales at department stores rose 1.1 percent on a same-store basis in July from the prior year to 764.5 billion yen for the second straight month of growth, an industry group said Wednesday.

It is the first time department stores sales have recorded a second straight monthly increase since February 2000, the Japan Department Stores Association said in a report covering sales data at 281 outlets run by 97 department store chains.

The sales growth was spearheaded by robust sales of summer clothing on the strength of clearance sales and the government’s “Cool Biz” promotion of casual wear at the office, the association said.

Overall clothing sales rose 2.0 percent. Men’s clothing sales grew 3.2 percent and women’s attire increased 3.0 percent, both for the second straight monthly increase.

The association said sales of casual men’s shirts and jackets grew due to the “Cool Biz” campaign, intended to reduce office air conditioning and help cut global warming.

In contrast, sales of electrical appliances at department stores dropped 28.0 percent and those of furniture fell 8.7 percent. Food sales shrank 0.6 percent.

Meanwhile, sales at large supermarkets that also sell general merchandise fell 2.3 percent on a same-store basis in July for the 17th straight month of decline, the Japan Chain Stores Association said the same day.

Supermarket sales in the month fell to 1.225 trillion yen amid relatively cool weather, a reversal from robust sales the year before when the weather was extremely hot, the association said in a preliminary report.

Food sales, accounting for 58.3 percent of overall sales, fell 2.6 percent to 714.76 billion yen, with poor sales of such seasonal foods as ice cream.

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